Thoughts On The Alchemist


The first part of a series that explores all the Chronos Classes, I will be discussing each class to answer two questions: What was the Design/Thought process behind the class and How has been their reception?

Designing the Alchemist

The Alchemist was the last class I created for Chronos, rounding out the tally to an even 10 classes. As the last class created and the fact that I already had a wealth of material, it benefited from the experiences we had over years of playing the Chronos game system. Like creating an Alchemical Formula, some things came easily and some things blew up in my face. I had a few explosive moments where abilities went too far and verged on breaking the balance of the game, but as if I was mimicking a true Alchemist, the failures were lessons learned. In approximately 1 day, we had 35 Alchemist powers and it was ready to play. It’s creation story can be found here.

In what seemed to be the 900th time going over class powers, I came to the Rogue and started rolling around ideas in my head. I realized that I didn’t have enough play styles with them. I needed a third style at least to keep things fresh. Every class in Chronos has different play styles within it, some are healers; some are ranged attackers; some are melee fighters; some are battlefield generals. The poor Rogue only had two, the “Shooty” Rogue and the “Stabby” Rogue. They were great choices and had the Roguish feel without going into other classes, but I wanted something more, so I started thinking of new poisons. While thinking of different poisons, I thought of the exact opposite, a healing ability. That healing ability was a mixture of various herbs with medicinal properties.

I imagined the Rogue hovering over his bag of herbs creating this healing poultice when it dawned on me that this Apothecary Tincture Ability was onto something. i thought, why not roll with this idea and let the Rogue dabble in role of an Apothecary. I came up with Molotov Cocktails, Adhesive Grenades, Smoke Bombs, and so much more that I realized I would not be able to fit them into the Rogue class without overshadowing the other abilities. These abilities were not the sort of abilities that should be shelved. They were very worthy to be played. Unfortunately they could possibly overshadow the Rogue class for what it essentially is, an action class. I felt the Rogue could be a dabbler, but we needed another Hero Class to do these abilities justice. When I realized this and since I knew that we needed another Sentinel Class, it was settled, a new class would be created. An Apothecary would not be my first choice for a class name, I needed something a little bit more recognizable. After a short bit of deliberation, the Alchemist was born. The whole process was so fast that it was as if the Alchemist leaped out of the pages at me and I was just grabbing it before it could slip away.

Reactions to the Alchemist

When I think of the Alchemist Hero Class, it has exceeded everything that I thought it could be. The Alchemist has been a great addition to Chronos. The first day I let my close friends read my first draft of Viktor the Alchemist and his fight against Ulgo and his men, I knew I had a hit. The response was incredible, everyone could relate to him and everyone wanted to see what the Alchemist class could do. It was only a few short hours later and they got to see some of the abilities and they did not disappoint them.

I have had almost everyone of my playtesters use the Alchemist so far and everyone has had fun with it. The Starting Abilities give the players a strong feel for the synergies involved with the class as well as their versatility. At first they were primarily a healer and damage-dealer. They just blew things up and set things on fire. The status effects they could convey were good, but not great. As the game has progressed, it has only gotten better. Now on top of that, they have a veritable field of other cool abilities to augment the party.

The sheer variety of players that have chosen an Alchemist and the Heroes they created with this Class has been beyond my expectations. It has something for everyone and so many different angles to explore. We have had a halfling Alchemist with a love of all things that go boom, an Ogre Alchemist that was a Master Gunner and Pirate, a Human Alchemist with a deep love of the science behind all things on top of a love of blowing things up, another Human Alchemist with an eye for the medicinal qualities of her concoctions on top of a penchant for booms, and a Dwarven pyrotechnist that makes things “explodey.” As you can tell, there is a common theme here, but that is the point. Everyone loves an EXPLOSION!

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